Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order

Posted Dec 12, 2011

[Anglican Communion News Service] In the name of the Holy Trinity and grateful for the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order met in Seoul, Republic of Korea 2 to 9 December 2011.

In preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) in 2012, the Commission devoted its third meeting to consolidating its work in the five areas initially identified as falling within its remit in 2009.

These areas of work involve:

1. reflecting critically on the Instruments of Communion and the relationships among them. Our discussions continue to develop the potential of these in the wider contexts of Anglican and ecumenical ecclesiological reflection;

2. studying the definition and recognition of churches;

3. providing a variety of materials to assist in the reception of the Anglican Communion Covenant. The guide which we produced during the past year is being augmented by a short video presentation which will be made available from the Anglican Communion website;

4. assisting the Communion in its engagement with the complex processes involved in reception. This includes receiving from one another and embracing the fruits of ecumenical dialogue and of Anglican theological reflection at all levels in the Communion. In our work as a Commission, we have become increasingly and acutely aware of the importance of this task in the life of our churches;

5. considering the question of transitivity, that is, the way in which regional ecumenical agreements between churches which are members of different global communions in one geographical area affect or extend to other parts of the Communions;

Aware of our mandate to promote the deepening of communion between the churches of the Anglican Communion, we emphasised the importance of being a fully representative group, and we greatly regret that some of our members were not present. We re-affirmed the significance of the Anglican Communion Covenant for strengthening our common life.

In accordance with its mandate the Commission also reviewed ecumenical developments within the life of the Anglican Communion. We considered the Jerusalem Report of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission, ‘To Love and Serve the Lord’, and the report of the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council, ‘Belonging together in Europe’. We expressed our support for a new phase of dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches. A draft of guidelines articulating expectations of Anglican participants in ecumenical dialogues was agreed for consideration by the Standing Committee. The Commission also confirmed the need for a continuing working group on ecumenical matters.

Bishop Paul Kim and the Anglican Church of Korea welcomed the Commission to Seoul. We were sustained throughout the meeting by sharing in the daily celebration of the Eucharist in the Cathedral, by the Cathedral community’s ministry of prayer, and by the hospitality of the Cathedral’s congregation and the Girls’ Friendly Society. During our visit, in particular through our introduction to the work of Towards Peace in Korea (TOPIK), we were made aware of the wide-ranging activities of the Korean churches in pursuit of social justice and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula, a concern that has been prominent at recent meetings of the ACC. Constructive conversations took place regarding the Anglican Church of Korea’s preparations to receive Anglican participants at the WCC Assembly in 2013. Throughout our time in Korea, we have shared with the Korean Church our common Advent hope.

In the course of our meeting, we visited the island of Ganghwa, where we prayed at the site of an early Anglican mission in Korea, the church of Sts Peter and Paul. From the Peace Platform we looked across the sea to North Korea and heard an account of the history of Korean partition and the aspirations for re-unification. We then went on to visit the church of St Andrew and the village of Urimaul, where the Anglican Church of Korea has established a Residential and Day Care Centre for disabled adults. On our return to Seoul, we were welcomed at Sungkonghoe (Anglican) University, by the University’s President, the Revd Dr Jeremiah Yang, himself a member of the Commission.

The next meeting will take place in September 2012.

Present at the Seoul meeting

The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Chair of the Commission
The Revd Canon Professor Paul Avis, Church of England
The Revd Sonal Christian, Church of North India
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, World Council of Churches
The Rt Revd Dr Howard Gregory, The Church in the Province of the West Indies
The Revd Professor Katherine Grieb, The Episcopal Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Kumara Illangasinghe, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
The Revd Canon Clement Janda, Episcopal Church of the Sudan
The Rt Revd William Mchombo, Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Revd Canon Sarah Rowland Jones, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Revd Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Scottish Episcopal Church/Church of England
The Revd Canon Dr Simon Oliver, Church in Wales/Church of England
The Rt Revd Dr Stephen Pickard, Anglican Church of Australia
Dr Andrew Pierce, Irish School of Ecumenics
The Revd Dr Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang, The Anglican Church of Korea
The Revd Canon Joanna Udal, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs
The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith and Order
Mr Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office.